27 November 2003

ALP's salvation may lie outside the material sphere

But Rudd's potential candidacy is shaping up to be quite different from that of any of his colleagues. For a start, there is his intellectualism. While many a Labor figure has been lauded for intellectual contributions, including Latham, Bob Carr, Gough Whitlam and Don Dunstan, Rudd's command of foreign languages and international affairs on the one hand, and his articulation of more prosaic social issues such as family on the other, hold appeal for both ends of town - the leafy Liberal suburbs and the struggling Labor fringes.

A second important difference is Rudd's strong sense of spirituality, something that emerges in the McKew interview. Rudd, a practising Christian, recently called for the need for prayer to seek wisdom 'far beyond our own' and to 'help craft a new world where there will be no more Balis'.

Such a sentiment might not sit well with an increasingly agnostic Australia. But those who criticise Rudd for his views are missing the point. Although he might be calling for a specifically Christian response to global and domestic uncertainty -- whether fighting international terrorism or simply defining what it means to be an Australian in 2003 -- his general thrust remains legitimate.

We are probably safe from a religious right takeover while the third graf of this extract remains a valid observation.

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